Atlanta Falcons capitulates as New England Patriots win
2017 Super Bowl LI has just ended with the New England Patriots winning 34 – 28 against Atlanta Falcons, emerging the best at American Football, and taking home the Vince Lombardi trophy. New England Patriots pulled off biggest comeback in super bowl history to win in front of more than 100 million homes across the United States and millions of us worldwide who were tuning in for the American football showpiece in Houston, which saw Tom Brady become the most decorated quarterback of all time and brought to a juddering halt Atlanta Falcons hopes of winning Super bowl 51.The Falcons were guided by quarterback Matt Ryan who were chasing a first Super Bowl crown and how they started didn’t disappoint neutrals like me who wanted to see them win. It all started with former President George H.W. Bush flipping the coin ahead of Super Bowl LI alongside his wife, Barbara.Atlanta Falcons won the coin toss and chose to receive the opening kickoff, giving Tom Brady and the New England Patriots offence first opportunity to put points on the board. Country music star Luke Bryan nailed the national anthem just like lady Gaga did last year.As I tweeted, the first quarter was a stalemate between the highest ranked offense and the league’s stingiest defence, with both teams unable to find any points. Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was sacked in his opening drive of the game by New England Patriots enforcer Trey Flowers. However, Tom Brady was on the receiving end of some punishment of his own copping two sacks from Courtney Upshaw and Grady Jarrett respectively. Then Atlanta Falcons struck first in the second quarter. An impressive drive downfield led by Matt Ryan finding favourite target Julio Jones on two big gains into New England Patriots territory set up Atlanta Falcons in the red zone. Running back Devonta Freeman took the handoff from Ryan and ran around a sea of bodies at the line of scrimmage to emphatically leap into the end zone on a 3 yard scamper for a touchdown. The Atlanta defence’s perfect opening continued as Brady was forced into another three-and-out. An incomplete deep throw and a three-yard Dion Lewis run created a third-and-seven situation and James White failed to pick up the required yardage on the crucial play. The Falcons offence was unstoppable when Ryan connected on long throws to three different receivers including a 19-yard touchdown pass to rookie Austin Hooper to give Atlanta Falcons a huge advantage of 14-0.Austin Hooper is the first rookie with a rec touchdown in a Super Bowl since Torry Holt for the Rams over 17 years ago in Super bowl XXXIV. Then after a long drive took the New England Patriots within field goal range, Atlanta Falcons corner Robert Alford intercepted Tom Brady on third down and took it to the house for a touchdown putting the Falcons to a commanding 21-0 lead. At the tail end of the second quarter, a New England Patriots drive into Atlanta Falcons area brought them some points as their second half closing drive finished with a field goal to Stephen Gostkowski to make it 3 -21 in favor of Atlanta Falcons. It was interesting to learn that Devonta Freeman’s 71 rush yards are the most rush yards in any Super Bowl half against the Patriots while Tom Brady had 2 interceptions in the regular season. After that, my focus turned to Pepsi halftime show where Lady Gaga sang God Bless America then belted Born This Way which happens to be your blogger’s favourite. Was delighted that there was no controversy or overt political statement that I could see. A great performance by a great pop star.
After Lady Gaga awesome performance, my attention shifted to third quarter which saw New England Patriots having to play close to perfect defence and made the right start by forcing a quick three-and-out. Julian Edelman added to the positive start by returning the punt 32 yards to the Atlanta 47-yard line. The Patriots looked aggressive at the start of the second half and Patriots Nation were hoping for Brady to hit the comeback trail. However, that was halted after after Falcons pinpoint passing, creative play calling as well as superb speed left New England Patriots shell shocked.Then came first down on the six yard line when Matt Ryan flipped it out to Tevin Coleman. Coleman had a one on one with Rob Ninkovich the outside linebacker led to a touchdown number four making 28 – 3. Then came Tom Brady moment when he finished an almost six-minute long possession by connecting with James White for a five-yard touchdown. Kicker Stephen Gostgowski missed the extra point and that reduced Atlanta Falcons lead to 19 points as score stood at 28-9. As the third quarter came to an end, New England Patriots failed attempt to recover an onside kick handed Atlanta Falcons strong field position but at that point, I thought we still have a game on our hands but saw no way Patriots could pull a comeback. How mistaken i was because that was the beginning of Patriots resurgence.The Patriots gathered momentum to breathe new life into the match. Dont’a Hightower crash tackled Matt Ryan on third down, forcing a fumble. Then Patriots recovered at the Atlanta 25-yard line, then Brady made it a one-possession game by connecting with Danny Amendola for a six-yard touchdown. The Patriots also made the two-point conversion to close within eight points putting the score Atlanta Falcons 28 and New England Patriots 20.Then there was New England Patriots defence that forced the Atlanta Falcons back outside field goal range with some fine work of their own. No doubt the match would not have gone to over time were it not receiver Julian Edelman who secured one of the greatest catches I have ever seen in a Super Bowl. I tweeted that it was simply astonishing. Edelman clutched a ricocheted ball which bounced off a Falcons’ defenders shin. That was exquisite in my view. At that point, Atlanta Falcons had less than 60 seconds to move within reach of the game-winning field goal but New England Patriots defence was up to the task which forced the game to go to overtime.New England Patriots completed the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history by scoring a touchdown on the first possession of overtime. Tom Brady completed a game in which he threw a Super Bowl record 466 yards by driving the Patriots within reach of the end zone. James White scored the winning touchdown, forcing his way into the endzone for a two-yard run handing New England Patriots 34 – 28 win. Glued up on my idiot box I had game covered from every angle. It’s always the biggest game of year and 2017 match was no different. In the neck of the wood, pubs were heaving on a cold to watch New England Patriots take on Atlanta Falcons. Before the game, New England Patriots had taken home the Vince Lombardi trophy four times in the past while Atlanta Falcons have only reached final once before, in 1999, when they lost to Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXXIII. According to NFL data, 2017 Super Bowl 51 winners will earn $107,000 each as a bonus while losers will gain $53,000.Held at Houston’s NRG Stadium with a 71,795-capacity and home to the Houston Texans, the game didn’t disappoint. Lets not forget that the same stadium hosted the NFL’s showpiece in 2004, Super Bowl XXXVIII in which the New England Patriots beat the Carolina Panthers 32-29 and since then World got used to lexicon called ‘wardrobe malfunction’ thanks to one of Janet Jackson fun bag.On the other side of the world, thousands of kilometres away, from Houston in Texas, and a couple of Sydneysiders and Melburnians dropped me plenty of mails wanting to know where my allegiance is as they were packed in pubs and others in the office to do watch the game.One of them sent me images of amber fluid, by and large, others were on cappuccino as fresh eyed supporters of New England Patriots bathed in the green fluorescent glow of plasma television screens while Atlanta Falcons supporters in Sydney shared with me images while they were awash with the team jersey. “I will follow New England Patriot team and doesn’t matter what time of the day, or whether am working or not, I’ve got to create time to watch them,” a Melburnian blue told your blogger before the kick off. As an American expat living in Brisbane, a blud said she was trying to create an atmosphere like back home in Californian and I must say she’s a 49ers fan.”It’s not difficult to do at ten o’clock on a Monday morning here in Melbourne. People have already taken breakfast, coffees and are getting down with their work,” she said.Sitting amongst the crowd to her, was fascinating as she wouldn’t dare miss the Super Bowl 51 game.Your blogger equally never ventured outside as always and sat to watch the clash on boob tube. Over the years I actually prefer catching up in a silent environment as it’s more exciting watching for me as I get more of a sense of being at the ground.Bluds in US sent me their pictures while enjoying the game, with Falcons and Patriots supporters dressed in their team of choice colours. Two large New England Patriots banners decorated the walls of a friend in San Diego, while a strictly Patriots supporters only sign adorned her living room doors. A blud in Newark, New Jersey couldn’t explain his love for the Atlanta Falcons team but didn’t want to see Patriots win. I rooted for Atlanta Falcons to win but in the end, they capitulated at the most critical time. Thats how sports matches are and no doubt after their second half display, New England Patriots deserved to win.